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X:A ratio, the primary sex-determining signal in Drosophila, is transduced by helix-loop-helix proteins.

Parkhurst, SM; Bopp, D; Ish-Horowicz, D; (1990) X:A ratio, the primary sex-determining signal in Drosophila, is transduced by helix-loop-helix proteins. Cell , 63 (6) pp. 1179-1191.

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Abstract

Drosophila determines its sex by "counting" X chromosomes. We show that premature expression of the pair-rule segmentation gene hairy interferes with this process, resulting in female-specific lethality by inhibiting initiation of the master control gene Sex-lethal (Sxl). The female-specific lethality can be suppressed by a constitutive Sxl allele or by extra copies of X-linked "counting elements." These results are best explained by competition between hairy and other helix-loop-helix transcription factors that act in chromosome counting. We have confirmed this model by showing that misexpression of the achaete-scute T4 gene induces ectopic Sxl expression and male-specific lethality, confirming that achaete-scute T4 is the sisterless-b counting element. We propose that X chromosomes are counted through heterodimers of helix-loop-helix transcription factors that act synergistically to initiate Sxl expression.

Type: Article
Title: X:A ratio, the primary sex-determining signal in Drosophila, is transduced by helix-loop-helix proteins.
Location: United States
Keywords: Animals, Blastoderm, Crosses, Genetic, DNA-Binding Proteins, Drosophila melanogaster, Embryo, Nonmammalian, Female, Genes, Lethal, Male, Restriction Mapping, Sex Determination Analysis, Transduction, Genetic, Transformation, Genetic, X Chromosome
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Cell and Developmental Biology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1425948
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